Monday, June 30, 2014

Packing for Camp NaNoWriMo

I love Camp NaNoWrimo.

Unlike the 50,000-word undertaking that is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) proper, Camp NaNoWriMo offers the flexibility for me to work on smaller projects while still participating in a NaNoWriMo event and feeling the support of the great community that surrounds it.

For Camp NaNoWriMo in July, I'm working on a project that is quite different than what I've done before. It's an all-ages project that I've been kicking around the idea for since 2008. The story and characters are inspired by the likes of Encyclopedia Brown, Scooby-Doo and Doctor Who, and the feel of the series will be akin to a Saturday morning cartoon.

The badly scanned picture at the top right of this post is actually an early concept sketch of the main character that a friend did for me. While the concept has evolved a bit since that time, the spirit of that sketch is absolutely still at the core of the character. My goal with this project is to write a series of stand-alone stories for younger readers.

For Camp NaNoWriMo this next month, I'll be writing the first story, with the hope of getting it out into the wild by the beginning of the upcoming school year. I've been sitting on this idea for a while, but my kids have made it a priority for me. They have been asking me to write this story since I fist pitched the idea to them a few years ago. Since most of what I write is adult horror, it will be nice to have something that they can enjoy now, and that can bring to the many family-oriented conventions and I attend throughout the year.

I'll be posting about my progress throughout July, so stay tuned! And for more info on Camp NaNoWriMo, head over to

Friday, June 27, 2014

Con Report--Special Edition: NYC

A little over a week ago, my Secret Identity show partner Matt and I were driving through Connecticut with a carload of people on the way to New York for the first Special Edition: NYC. Knowing it was going to be a comic-focused show by the folks who run New York Comic Con, we had a pretty good idea of what to expect. I’m happy to say, Special Edition: NYC ended up being exactly what we wanted it to be--an Artist Alley filled with a Who’s Who of comic creators.

For those that have to been to NYCC the past few years, Special Edition: NYC took place in the same location that Artist Alley has been in. In addition to all of the creator tables, there was also a healthy mix of vendors selling comics, games, toys and more.

NYCC can be a bit overwhelming, as the entire Javits Center is packed wall to wall with so much to see you don’t know where to start. The vibe at Special Edition: NYC was much less frantic. Everyone was very laid back, and since the show was in one area of the building, people really took their time to walk the aisles, as there wasn’t somewhere else to run off to (unless you were going to a panel, of course).

As with NY Comic Fest, I came into Special Edition: NYC with a handful of “must-have” interviews, and I pretty much got all of them.

I spent some time with Joe Kelly (I Kill Giants, Man of Action, Deadpool) talking about his heartbreaking Rhino story from Amazing Spider-Man (issues #617 and #625 if you want to read it). I sat down with James Tynion IV to talk about The Eighth Seal and his new series The Woods. Marguerite Bennett and I talked about her recent Lois Lane one-shot and how great a Lois ongoing would be. And I actually got to watch artist Will Sliney (Fearless Defenders) sketch one of my favorite characters of all time as I interviewed him about the upcoming Spider-Man 2099 series.

So from a wish list standpoint, I had a pretty great day of interviews. But one of the best things about Special Edition: NYC was that it was wall to wall creators. Everywhere I turned, there was someone I wanted to interview. We were there less than five minutes when I saw and sat down with Enrica Jang, who adapted Poe’s The Cask of Amontillado and is writing the upcoming House of Montressor. I had just reviewed The Cask of Amontillado in episode #593 of Secret Identity, and it was great to talk with a fellow Poe fan about what makes that story so memorable.

A little while later, I saw the first issue of Madame Frankenstein at a table and walked over to meet series writer Jamie S. Rich (It Girl and the Atomics, Archer Coe). He was sharing a booth with Mike Allred, and during our interview, we were treated to a demonstration by an escape artist (you will literally hear the chains jingling while I’m talking to Jamie). I also ended up picking up Archer Coe and The Thousand Natural Shocks, which I cannot wait to dive into.

In addition to getting a slew of great interviews, I also spent some money. There was a vendor who had a tone of Minecraft stuff (my kids’ current obsession), and I was able to grab a couple of the strategy guides that have been sold out here at home. I got some extra dad points from my kids, which was well worth spending most of my allowance. I also picked up the Archer Coe trade from Jamie and a great Poe anthology from Enrica Jang.

I also ran into plenty of friends at the show. It’s always a pleasure to see Mike Norton (Battlepug, Revival), and we spent some time catching up. Our good friend and fellow podcaster Darrell Taylor was there, and recorded a great Valiant panel for his Valiant podcast. And for the third time in three weeks, I ran into longtime listener of the show Mike S. (known as Six Shooter on the SI boards). Our friend Lacey Gilleran from G33king Out was there working for ReedPOP, and we got some cool swag to bring home from her. And we were accompanied by a trio of Matt’s friends who were all attending their first comic show. They had an amazing time, and it was great to see their reactions to the sights and sounds we sometimes take for granted.

All in all, Special Edition: NYC was a blast. We got some great interviews, caught up with some friends and came home with some great comics. You really can’t ask for any more than that.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Parted Veil Updates!

It’s been a little while since I talked about the Parted Veil series, so I wanted to give a quick update about my plans for the rest of 2014.

The third book in the series is tentatively called Lovecraft’s Pupil, and the first draft is done. The story picks up shortly after the events of Lovecraft’s Curse, and will continue the story of Fela Barton, Connie Norbitt and of course, H.P. Lovecraft. The cast of Courting the King in Yellow continues to find their way into this story as well, although not in the way some would expect.

My plan at this point is to get the book edited in the next couple months with an eye toward a Halloween release, as has been the case with the previous two books.

In the meantime, I plan on writing and releasing another short story set in the Parted Veil universe, highlighting another supporting character. In Private Showing, readers got to know more about Nita Young, and in this next story, a character from both Courting the King in Yellow and Lovecraft’s Pupil will get some time to shine.

So, exciting (and scary) things are coming in the second half of 2014. Stay tuned!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Con Report--New York Comic Fest

Last weekend Matt and I headed down to Westchester County Center in White Plains, NY for the first annual New York Comic Fest. The show as put together by the folks behind Asbury Park Comicon, a show that has grown exponentially since its inception in 2012. If our experience at NY Comic Fest was any indication, this show will be growing in the coming years as well.

The first thing you notice about the Westchester County Center is the old school vibe. The venue has been around for more than 80 years, and next year will host the Westchester Knicks of the NBA’s Developmental League. The seating in the Center is balcony-style, forming a ring around the entire venue. It’s really a unique setup, and I couldn’t help but head upstairs to snap a birds-eye view picture of the show floor.

On the floor itself, there was a great mix of vendors, creators and fan exhibits. The big draw for this show was the all-star list of creators, as NY Comic Fest delivered one heck of a lineup. Mark Waid, Scott Snyder, Justin Gray, Larry Hama, Jim Steranko, Herb Trimpe, Fred Van Lente and more than a dozen other great guests lined the rows of the show, and Matt and I got to sit down with a few people we’d been waiting a long time to interview.

We both spent a while talking to Justin Gray (Jonah Hex, Forager, Wool), and Matt did a great interview with him you will hear in the near future. If you dig Justin’s comics, you should check out his sci-fi short story The Relic Raiders, which you can grab on Amazon for $0.99.

I also had the amazing fortune to sit down with the legendary Mark Waid and talk about Thrillbent and Empire, and he is one of the nicest guys I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing. Matt also talked with him about some of the great projects he’s been a part of over the years. Mark was hanging out and talking to fans all day, and this show offered a great chance to spend some time with him.

Speaking of nice guys, I spent about an hour and a half at the table of longtime Marvel Editor and current Papercutz EIC Jim Salicrup. Not only is Jim a fantastic guy, a great artist and an industry historian, he was one of the first guests Matt and I ever interviewed for Secret Identity. You’ll hear my interview with him in the coming weeks as well, but the conversations we had outside of that interview are just one of the great memories I’ll take away from this show.

We even ran into our buddy and Archie Comics President Mike Pellerito, who enjoying the con with his kids and checking in on the Archie booth.

We had an absolute blast overall, and we want to thank Cliff Galbraith for letting us come and sit down with some of the amazing creators at NY Comic Fest. This is a show we will absolutely be coming back for next year.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

MO STACHE Update: Summer Vacation and Hair on Earth!

Last week, John Cordis and I wrapped up the latest chapter of Mo Stache, and we’re currently getting ready for the fifth and final chapter: Hair on Earth.

As we do each summer, we’ll be taking a short break in between chapters. John and I both have kids (John actually has another on the way in August--congratulations!), and summer is a blur of family activities, sports, trips and other craziness. So, we take a break each year around this time to focus on family and give ourselves some time to catch up.

And speaking of catching up, our break offers you, gentle reader, a chance to catch up on our 120+ page story so far.

For those that have never heard of Mo Stache, here’s my elevator pitch: Mo Stache is the story of Dave Reynolds, an average guy who wakes up one morning with an alien living on his face. What follows is an epic tale of facial hair, alien invasions, sasquatch-like rampaging monsters and more.

A lot has happened so far, but I feel very confident in saying that the final chapter moves at a breakneck pace compared to the previous four chapters. There is a sense of chaos that I want to maintain, as Dave’s life has gone from weird to flat-out crazy, but he has to roll with it as there are much bigger issues at hand--like the fact that the city has been invaded by aliens who are transforming citizens into hairy monsters.

While we’re on break in-between chapters, I’ll be blogging a bit more about Mo Stache. I write mostly about my prose projects around here, but writing a comic over the past four years has been an amazing learning experience, and there are many lessons I’ve taken from that into writing my novels.

I’m thinking about doing some commentaries on each of the first four chapters in the form of special episodes of the See Brian Write podcast. There’s a good chance John will join me for those as well, and it will be nice for folks to get to hear from him.

So in summary, go catch up on Mo.

Did I mention you can read the entire series for FREE?

Click here!

What are you waiting for?

We’ll be kicking off the final chapter on September 3rd, and it will be awesome. Because AJ wouldn't have it any other way.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Rest in Peace, Tony Gwynn

You may have heard that Hall of Fame baseball player Tony Gwynn passed away from cancer at age 54 today.

And if you’re not a baseball fan, or you don’t live in the San Diego area, you might have asked aloud, “Who is Tony Gwynn?”

Well, let me tell you a little bit about Tony Gwynn.

Coming out of college, Tony Gwynn was drafted by both the San Diego Padres of Major League Baseball and the San Diego Clippers of the National Basketball Association. He chose baseball, and went on to have one of the greatest careers in the history of the game.

Tony Gwynn played for the San Diego Padres from 1982 until 2001. In an era where players frequently left teams for big money opportunities elsewhere, Tony Gwynn played his entire career with the small-market San Diego Padres. He’s one of only 17 players in MLB history to have played 20 seasons with one team. It’s only one of the reasons he is referred to lovingly as “Mr. Padre.”

Tony Gwynn was the greatest hitter in the modern era of Major League Baseball. He won eight batting titles (second only to Ty Cobb), had 3,141 hits over his career and retired with a .338 batting average, the highest of any player since World War II (and 17th all-time).

In 20 seasons, Gwynn struck out a mere 434 times. In his entire career, he only had 34 games where he struck out more than once.

Tony Gwynn was also one of four players in MLB history to have 300 steals and have a career average of at least .338. He was the first and last one to do this since 1928.

When the Major League Baseball strike of 1994 cut that season short on August 12th of that year, Tony Gwynn has a season batting average of .394. Had that season not been cut short, many (including myself and the late Tony Gwynn) believe that Gwynn would have been the first player since Ted Williams to bat .400 for a season.

Tony Gwynn appeared in the only two World Series the Padres went to, in 1984 and 1998.

Tony Gwynn was a 15-time all-star and a first-ballot Hall of Famer.

After retiring from baseball, Tony Gwynn had a successful career as a broadcast analyst for both ESPN and TBS.

Tony Gwynn coached the San Diego State Aztecs baseball team from 2003-2014.

Outside of his accomplishments in baseball, Tony Gwynn and his wife Alicia started the Tony and Alicia Gwynn Foundation in 1995, which has been a pillar of the San Diego community and has raised funds for everything from children's tutoring services to job placement programs in the San Diego area.

Seriously, I could write pages and pages about Tony Gwynn’s accomplishments both on an off the field, but you get the picture. For me, as a kid growing up in the middle of Red Sox and Yankee country, I was drawn to the way Tony Gwynn approached the game. He always seemed to be enjoying baseball, and his dedication to being as consistent a hitter as possible was fascinating to me. His work ethic inspired me, and I went from loving Tony Gwynn to loving the San Diego Padres, the team I still follow today.

Throughout high school and college, I was the only San Diego Padres fan I knew. My room at home and my dorm room in college had pictures of Tony Gwynn adorning them.

The first baseball jersey I ever bought was a Padres jersey. It was a replica with no names or numbers on it.

My wife and I traveled to San Diego in 1996 to see the Padres play, and sadly Tony Gwynn ended up being hurt at the time. He was replaced by another Hall of Famer, Rickey Henderson. On that trip, I bought a Tony Gwynn limited edition picture that still hangs in my room today. I also bought my first authentic Padres jersey, a Tony Gwynn jersey that I still have and wear to this day, eighteen years after I bought it.

I distinctly remember crying my eyes out in 1998 when the Padres beat the amazing Atlanta Braves to win the National League title. It was the first time that a team I loved had won anything. They went on to lose to the Yankees in the world series, but I will never forget that series with the Braves.

And I’ll never forget this morning either, when a co-worker came and told me he’d heard about Tony Gwynn passing away. I’m crying as I type this, and I apologize for the rambling, but this is a tough one for me.

My thoughts go out to Tony Gwynn’s family, and I hope they will feel some support from the many fans around the world that grew up watching Tony and have been lifelong fans.

Rest in peace, Tony. And thank you for all the wonderful memories.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Scream Factory's 'Summer of Fear' Brings the Drive-In Horror Experience to a Computer Near You

Being a diehard horror fan, I was thrilled when Shout! Factory launched their Scream Factory line back in 2012. Scream Factory specializes in re-releasing extra-filled special editions of classic cult horror films from the the '70s and '80s.

Shortly after the launch of Scream Factory, I spoke with their Marketing Manager Tom Chen at New York Comic Con (you can get that episode of the podcast here). I also reviewed one of Scream Factory's first releases, the amazing They Live from horror master John Carpenter. I was blown away by the love and care Scream Factory showed in putting the special edition together and the extras (including new interviews) that were included.

Scream Factory has really blossomed over the past couple years, adding to their stable classics like From Beyond, The Fog, Night of the Comet, Day of the Dead and a ton more.

This month, Scream Factory is taking their celebration of horror to a new level with the Summer of Fear. Every Friday night in June, they are holding a free screening of a classic horror film over at These screenings feature new interviews with cast and crew, and the folks at Scream Factory also interact with fans via their Twitter account and the hashtag #SummerofFear.

Tonight's screening is one of my all-time favorites--Night of the Demons. Not only does it feature scream queen Linnea Quigley, but the screening will feature new interviews with star Amelia Kinkade (Angela) and Director Kevin Tenney (who also directed the fantastic Witchboard).

You can tune into the screening tonight at 10PM EST over on You can also watch the trailer for the event below, and head over to the Scream Factory website to see the entire catalog of Scream Factory special editions.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Conventions and Shows Offer a Special Kind of Inspiration

Yesterday I took my son down to Hartford, CT for the inaugural Hartford Comic Con. We had a blast hanging out with a bunch of my comic friends, seeing all the cosplayers and spending our allowances on comics and toys. I also recorded a couple of interviews for the Secret Identity podcast and spent some time catching up with my creator friends about their current projects. Not only was the day a ton of fun, but the amount of creative inspiration I took away from the show has given a couple of dormant projects of mine new life.

There is a certain type of inspiration that I can only get from talking to other creators. I am a huge process nerd--I love to hear about and discuss how ideas come together, what form they end up taking,m and every step of the creative process along the way. That need to connect with creators is one of the reasons I’m still doing the Secret Identity podcast after eight years, and the primary reason I started the See Brian Write podcast.

As fun as it is to interview people over Skype or talk shop via Twitter though, there is a special kind of atmosphere at shows that I think every creator needs to experience. Whether it’s a comic convention, a book expo or a film festival, I would encourage everyone to get out to a show and connect with other creators. You get to see the fruits of people’s labor and talk process with them at the same time. You can feel the creative excitement in the air as everyone is sharing their creations, making new connections and discussing their craft.

So, if you’ve never been to a convention or a book expo, do yourself a favor and check out the next one in your area. There’s a lot of creative inspiration to be had for you, and many new connections to be made.